The Senate Majority Caucus argued to an Allegheny County Common Pleas judge Thursday that computer hardware taken by investigators during the investigation of former state Sen. Jane Orie should be returned.
Attorney Mark Seiberling told Judge John A. Zottola that because Ms. Orie has already been convicted, along with her sisters, Janine Orie, and former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, the email server and 15 hard drives no longer serve an evidentiary purpose for the state.
In addition, copies of the equipment were made when it was first obtained, so if the prosecution needed it in the future, the copies would be available.
Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Claus argued that Judge Zottola doesn't have jurisdiction on the matter because he wasn't the trial judge, and that the equipment should stay in state custody throughout the appeals process for the women.
Jane Orie, a Republican who represented parts of the North Hills, was convicted on 14 counts against her and is serving 21/2 to 10 years in state prison.
Orie Melvin was found guilty of six counts that she used her judicial staff, as well as that of Jane Orie, to run her election campaigns in 2003 and 2009. She was sentenced to three years' house arrest, two years' probation and to pay $55,000 in fines. Janine Orie is serving one year of house arrest on similar counts.
Judge Zottola said he would issue a decision on both matters in several weeks.